Welcome back to Portobello Book Blog. I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Year with plenty time for reading! I am starting off the year with a review for a book which is due out later this month and I couldn’t have chosen a better book for my first of 2019.
When All Is Said by Anne Griffin is a book which packs an emotional punch.
Over the course of an evening, 84 year old Maurice Hannigan sits in a bar in a local hotel and raises five toasts to five people who were important in his life. Although on his own, he imagines he is telling his son about these five people and through the toasts we learn his life story.
At first I thought it might be a similar concept to Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven but while Albom’s main character is surprised by the five people he meets and influenced when he was alive, Maurice knows very well and appreciates the significance of the five people he is raising a toast to. Through his reminiscing we learn about his loves, his regrets, the ghosts of the past, his secrets, his joys and his sorrows.
This book is storytelling at its best. I felt as though I could have been sitting on the bar stool next to Maurice listening to him tell his story. He had a relatively ordinary life perhaps, but Anne Griffin’s writing makes it captivating in its telling nonetheless.
I expect that some people will feel a bit conflicted about the ending and of course I’m not going to tell you how it ends. But I would say that I thought the ending was perfect, very poignant yet perfect.
My thanks to the publishers Sceptre for my review copy of the book via Netgalley. When All Is Said will be published in hardback and as an ebook on 24th January with the paperback to follow in October. It will be available at your usual book retailer or you can order a copy online here: When All Is Said
From the back of the book
At the bar of a grand hotel in a small Irish town sits 84-year-old Maurice Hannigan. He’s alone, as usual -though tonight is anything but. Pull up a stool and charge your glass, because Maurice is finally ready to tell his story.
Over the course of this evening, he will raise five toasts to the five people who have meant the most to him. Through these stories – of unspoken joy and regret, a secret tragedy kept hidden, a fierce love that never found its voice – the life of one man will be powerfully and poignantly laid bare.
Heart-breaking and heart-warming all at once, the voice of Maurice Hannigan will stay with you long after all is said.
About the author
Anne Griffin is an Irish novelist living in Ireland. Anne was awarded the John McGahern Award for Literature, recognising previous and current works. Amongst others, she has been shortlisted for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award and the Sunday Business Post Short Story Award.
Anne’s debut novel ‘When All Is Said’ will be published by Sceptre in the UK and Ireland on 24th January, 2019